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PUT A LID ON IT

Westlake, Donald E.

385 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0892967188 / ISBN 13: 9780892967186
Published by Mysterious Press., NY:, 2002
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About this Item

HC in dust jacket. 1st Printing. Signed by Westlake. A fine copy in a fine dust jacket. Bookseller Inventory # 9946

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Bibliographic Details

Title: PUT A LID ON IT

Publisher: Mysterious Press., NY:

Publication Date: 2002

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st edition

About this title

Synopsis:

The critically acclaimed, bestselling author of The Ax and The Hook is back in rare form as he introduces Meehan, a character who keeps the lid from blowing off Washington politics.eehan, a career thief staring at life without parole, is awaiting sentencing at the Manhattan Correctional Center when he is called to a meeting by someone masquerading as his lawyer. The man, it turns out, represents the presidential re-election campaign committeenow finding itself in need of a little professional help. So they outsource Meehan in return for a walk from all pending criminal charges. All he has to do is steal a compromising video tape before the other side springs an October Surprise on the president. A shrewd burglar, Meehan bites, and shows just how easy Watergate would have been had they left it to the professionals.

Review:

Penzler Pick, April 2002: According to his publisher's statistics, the peerless Donald E. Westlake, who has made his mark both with witty capers and with gritty noir thrillers, has more than a million copies of his Mysterious Press books in print, as well as more than a million copies of his many titles in print around the world. And I'd like to go on record as saying that he deserves every bit of that success. This is a case of an immensely talented author getting his due, with the vast (and, alas, sometimes taste-impaired) reading public revealing a great discernment.

Westlake has been well and truly acknowledged by his peers over the more than four decades of his career, having, among other honors, been named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, been the recipient of the Bouchercon Lifetime Achievement Award, and been nominated for an Oscar for his screenplay of The Grifters.

His latest book, Put a Lid on It, is a far cry from his recent throat-grippers (The Hook, The Ax) and also different from his recent revivals of his earlier cold-blooded/hard-boiled Parker series (Firebreak , Flashfire) written under his Richard Stark pseudonym. It is closest in tone to his Dortmunder titles (most recently, Bad News), but it introduces a different sort of thief than the protagonist who is featured in The Hot Rock, Bank Shot, and others. Meehan, the hero of Put a Lid on It, like any other Westlake lead character, is a one-name kind of guy and is as recognizably a Westlake creation as if he were branded with a giant "W."

Smart as he is, though, Meehan wouldn't be a Westlake hero if bad luck were unknown to him. When we first encounter him, he's sitting in jail in the Manhattan Correctional Center, denied parole and stoically awaiting sentencing. Out of the blue, a chance to alter his fate presents itself when a clandestinely dispatched representative of the president's reelection campaign presents himself as Meehan's potential savior.

All Meehan has to do is come up with a workable plan to steal a hideously incriminating videotape from the upstate-New York estate of a wacko millionaire. He must find the appropriate accomplices to help him and so forth... while the clock is furiously ticking.

Fans of such sophisticated political farce as Larry Beinhart's American Hero (transferred to the screen as Wag the Dog) or Joe Klein's (a.k.a. Anonymous) Primary Colors will enjoy the twisted application of Westlake's merry cynicism to the idea of the bungled high-level cover-up. They will admire, as well, his long-perfected ability to blend incredible smartness with an ever entertaining degree of smart-aleck impudence. More Meehan, please. And more Westlake, too, for as long as he can tap the keys of the old portable typewriter on which he still works. --Otto Penzler

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